Government is jumping on antisemitism bandwagon, says NUS chief

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Government is jumping on antisemitism bandwagon, says NUS chief

EXCLUSIVE: Larissa Kennedy made the comments to student union leaders on zoom after the Government cut ties with the body

Larissa Kennedy is questioned by parliamentary committee
Larissa Kennedy is questioned by parliamentary committee

The outgoing president of the National Union of Students (NUS) has accused the government of “jumping on the [antisemitism] bandwagon” after minsters cut ties with the body.

Larissa Kennedy made the comments during a Zoom meeting for 100 union officers called to discuss “the recent antisemitism allegations and the independent investigation the NUS has called”.

She said: “I think our movement is capable of saying this needs to be dealt with seriously and that the government is jumping on the bandwagon in a bad faith way when their record on antisemitism and racism is so horrendous.” She added that the NUS had never disengaged with government.

Last month, the government cut ties with the NUS over allegations of “systemic antisemitism within the organisation”.

Throughout the meeting, student union officers from multiple universities raised concerns about “the recent disengagement with the government” while asking: “What are we paying our [£25,000] affiliation fee for?”

Kennedy defended the NUS’ credibility, stating: “Jewish students have been able to raise their voices, have been able to tell us what they want from us and we have been able to act accordingly. That is, if anything, the most important thing here. A lot has been drawn out by people who don’t necessarily know the facts.”

She insisted that unofficial ties with government, where the majority of policy discussions take place, are ongoing.

In March, Jewish students were effectively told to self-segregate at NUS conference after they complained about a performance from controversial rapper Lowkey, who is a public supporter of sacked Bristol university academic David Miller and former Labour MP Chris Williamson.

Newly-elected NUS president Shaima Dallali is under separate investigation after tweeting an ancient Islamic battle cry referencing the massacre of Jews.

Rebecca Tuck QC, a barrister specialising in employment and discrimination law, has been appointed to lead an independent investigation into antisemitism allegations at the NUS.

A senior source from within the Department for Education responded: “You would think an organisation that prattles on about the importance of ‘anti-oppression’ would, when confronted with real racist antisemitism, finally have a moment of realisation.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: